Whangdepootenawah

Album: Jet (1975)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Whangdepootenawah" is the Ojibway word for "disaster." The word was popularized by The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce's satirical reference book published in 1911. In our interview with Jet bassist and songwriter, Martin Gordon, he revealed this was his favorite song by the band even though the lyrics are directly copied from Bierce's lexicon.

    Said Gordon: "My favorite Jet tune is probably 'Whangdepootenawah,' written by drummer Chris Townson and singer Andy Ellison and myself, but also written by Ambrose Bierce, I (very much later) discovered. Chris and Andy presented me with a set of very witty words, which I set to music. Imagine my surprise, years later, when I found the selfsame words in The Devil's Dictionary. Mssrs Ellison and Townson had inexplicably forgotten to tell me that they had stolen them. That explained it all."
  • Jet was a Glam Rock "supergroup" comprised of Andy Ellison (John's Children), Martin Gordon (Sparks), Chris Townson (John's Children, Jook), David O'List (The Nice, Roxy Music) and Peter Oxendale (Sparks). Despite the extraordinary lineup, Jet split up in 1976 after just the one album, with most members going on to form the New Wave band, Radio Stars, who were far more successful in terms of sales than their earlier incarnation.
  • Jet was produced by Queen associate, Roy Thomas Baker. In our interview, Gordon discussed Baker's unique approach to producing. "Roy was great. Very funny, apparently not serious but of course deadly serious about the work in hand," said Gordon. "A master strategist, he would always come up with some tactic to defuse the many and varied problems which appeared in the studio. Whether it was provision of Scandinavian porn or the invention of a magical new device which would turn your guitar playing into the drunken thrashing of a non-musical drummer, he could be relied on to give full value for money."

    In 2010, Jet was reissued by the British independent label, RPM Records, alongside a bonus disc featuring previously unreleased demos, outtakes and live recordings.

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